Quilty Musings: One response, two reactions

Many came by and chatted with me at the Quilt Fair. I try to hover in the area where my quilts are hung so that I can be available to answer any questions. But sometimes, people that came by didn’t know I was the quilter of the quilts they were viewing. So, I get to eavesdrop a little bit on what they think of my quilts (not much, just a little, mind you!). ;)

quilt fair1

One of the most common responses I got regarding my quilts was “You did this by machine?” I do a lot of handwork, but not with quilts. So, my answer was always a resounding “YES!”. The reactions on the faces varied depending on the situation. Here are some examples of what I mean…

Regarding my Ivory Spring quilt:

Ivory Spring1

Ivory Spring2

Viewer: You did this by machine?

Me: Yes!

Viewer’s reaction (not quite impressed): Oh, I thought you did this by hand…

Viewer walked away.


Regarding my April Flowers quilt:

april flowers2

building blocks7

Viewer: You did this by machine?

Me: Yes!

Viewer’s reaction (rather impressed): Oh, I thought you did this by hand…

Viewer further examined the tight stitches on the applique before walking away.


I suppose the appreciation of quilts is a rather subjective form of exercise. Upon further reflecting on the various response I got from the quilt fair, I am beginning to wonder perhaps machine quilting might not be as highly regarded as hand quilting (?). I really don’t know since I haven’t been in the quilting world that long. What is your take? (Please do not mis-understand with this post I am down on hand-quilters. I am most certainly NOT. If you know me, you will know that I am most ardently impressed by hand quilters). I am merely curious about everyone’s perspective.

9 thoughts on “Quilty Musings: One response, two reactions

  1. Wendy, it seems to me that hand quilting was always more highly regarded then machine quilting. Harriet Hargrove broke that mold years ago when she perfected her method of quilting by machine. I believe that Caryl Fallert was the first quilter to receive an award for her quilting done on the machine in Paducah. It has gone beyond the moon since then. Just take the comments with a grain of salt. Machine quilting has been taken to new heights with extraordinary quilters like yourself.

  2. I think it all depends on the viewer. Some people are not as aware of the broad field of quilting so have not been exposed much to machine quilting. I like to think that people who make such comments go home and ponder what they saw. Over time their opinions develop and change to the point that eventually they are a little embarrassed by their naive comment.

  3. Humm, never really thought about the hand quilting being regarded higher than machine quilted. I think both are very amazing. Quilts are quilts, hand or machine quilted. If they had free motion quilted a quilt on their sewing machine at home maybe they would react differently. It really isn’t that easy, all the bluk etc. I think your quilts are grand!

  4. I think the attitude about hand quilting vs. machine quilting is evolving. How can it not, with the amazing machine quilting that is being done. Your machine quilting is absolutely breathtaking. A friend who is thinking of entering a hand pieced quilt in a major quilt show debated whether to have it machine quilted or to hand quilt it. Heirloom quality machine quilting is what she has decided on and her decision was based, in part, on the fact that it seems the quilts with heirloom quality machine quilting are winning more and more of the major awards. Your machine quilting is absolutely amazing and the applique is incredible.

  5. I think there will always be two schools of thought on this subject. There are those that think machine quilting is somehow “cheating”. For those that think machine quilting is somehow easier than machine quilting, I think they should all have to watch someone actually machine quilt. I do believe they think you push a button and the machine does the rest!

  6. Handmade is handmade and machine made is handmade. Just more durable and washable. The quilts that I sell at grammysquilts.com are machine pieced and quilted and bound. Beautiful, as yours certainly are, and durable, warm, and washable. Thanks for the article. MM

  7. Wendy, I think Machine Quilting(well done) adds another dimension to a quilt that can’t always be achieved with hand quilting. I’ve found that the machine quilting on some of my quilts has added to their appeal. Because of this I think there should be a different category in shows for machine quilted quilts.

  8. Hi wendy!

    Over here in the Netherlands, I often get the feeling that people do think that quilting and patching should be done by hand just becaus it has been done that way forever…. When someone tells me my work isn’t done the way it should because I “cheat” by doing it by machine… my response is always: ” yeah and you still use a broom to clean up your house? ”
    I do admire all the people who handpiece and handquilt, however, I do also admire people who machinepiece and machinequilt….. There will be people who do only handquilting or machine quilting… give respect to everyone’s work… and don’t think others should do it the same way as you do it… that’s my motto…
    I do love your work, as you already know from previous comments, so please don’t bother thinking about the reaction that person gave… it says more about that person than about your marvelous work!

    Hugs from the Netherlands!
    Winda aka DutchQ at number 29 aka (*ü*)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s